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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 212-230
 Header Item Direct Provision Data
 Header Item Legislative Programme
 Header Item Criminal Assets Bureau
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Garda Stations
 Header Item Garda Recruitment
 Header Item Garda Welfare
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Garda Resources
 Header Item Protected Disclosures
 Header Item Prison Service Staff
 Header Item Drugs in Prisons
 Header Item Departmental Funding

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 212-230

Direct Provision Data

 212. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of persons who have died while in the direct provision system since 1 January 2007; the ages of the persons who died; the reasons for the deaths; the number that were the result of suicide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43845/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton The position in relation to this matter is as set out in my response to a similar question in recent weeks.

The wellbeing of residents in direct provision is an absolute priority for the Reception and Integration Agency, which is the agency of my Department tasked with overseeing the provision of full board accommodation and certain ancillary services to persons in the protection process.  Since the direct provision system was established in 2000 some 60,000 persons have benefited from these services, and some deaths of residents have occurred in this period.

 While overseeing the delivery of different services, my Department has no direct role in the provision of health or health related services to protection applicants.  Such services are provided through the Department of Health by the Health Service Executive (HSE) via hospital, primary care and the GP services.  Protection applicants receive these health services on exactly the same basis as Irish or EU citizens who have medical cards. All health matters are private between a patient and his or her medical advisor and records in relation to any illness, including mental illness are, properly, not available to Departmental staff.  Similarly, when persons in the protection process die, their deaths are treated by medical personnel and/or the coroner in exactly the same way as any other person who passes away within the jurisdiction of the State.  The same procedures apply to protection applicants as to other persons who are not protection applicants. 

While my Department collates some statistics on deaths of persons in the protection process, this is usually by way of a general knowledge of the cause of death, such as by way of information arising from the specified medical needs of the resident concerned.  In most cases, the deaths would have occurred outside of State-provided accommodation e.g. in hospitals or hospices. While the HSE do issue death certificates, official records in relation to deaths are maintained by the Register of Births Marriages and Deaths, which is now under the aegis the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The Department has no access to death certificates, nor would it be appropriate under data protection safeguards for it to seek such access, and it is therefore not possible to provide the information sought by the Deputy.

Legislative Programme

 213. Deputy Noel Rock Information on Noel Rock Zoom on Noel Rock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan when he plans to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was signed by the Government on 30 March 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43375/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Ireland signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007 and since then, successive Governments have emphasised Ireland’s strong commitment to proceed to ratification as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are met. This Government remains committed to ratification of the Convention.

It is essential that the State is in a position to meet the obligations that it assumes under the terms of an international agreement from the moment of its entry into force for Ireland. Before the State can ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, enactment of new legislation and amendment of existing legislation is required to ensure obligations will be met upon entry into force for Ireland.  Ratification of a Convention before we have amended domestic legislation that contradicts it makes no sense and does nothing to ensure compliance or to protect the people for whose benefit the Convention exists.  The previous Government published a Roadmap in October 2015, which sets out the legislative measures needed to meet those requirements, along with declarations and reservations to be entered by Ireland on ratification.

Considerable progress has already been made to overcome the remaining legislative barriers to Ireland's ratification of the Convention. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed into law on 30 December 2015 and is a comprehensive reform of the law on decision-making capacity. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 has reformed Section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 to facilitate the full participation in family life of persons with intellectual disabilities and the full expression of their human rights.

The Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 was published immediately prior to Christmas and completed Second Stage in February 2017.  The primary purpose of the Bill is to address the remaining legislative barriers to Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).  Work is ongoing on all the other issues set out in the previous Government’s Roadmap for Ratification published in October 2015 and these will be progressed as Committee Stage amendments.  The Bill will be progressed to enactment at an early date to facilitate ratification of the UN Convention as soon as possible.

The precise timing of ratification now depends on how long it will take for this Bill to progress through the enactment process and on issues in relation to commencement both of deprivation of liberty provisions, which will be included in the Bill at Committee Stage, and of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015. 

I would like to take this opportunity to assure the Deputy that ratification of the UNCRPD remains a very high priority for me as Minister.

Criminal Assets Bureau

 214. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the most recent valuation of all land seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43378/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I refer the Deputy to my reply to PQs Noss 96 and 97 of Thursday 12 October, 2017.

As indicated in my reply, section 21 of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996 requires the Bureau, through the Garda Commissioner, to provide a report of its activities each year to the Minister for Justice and Equality who is then required to lay copies of the report before each House of the Oireachtas. 

Details in relation to the number of assets classified as property/land and their valuation as outlined to the court at the time when Orders were being made under section 2 of the Proceeds of Crime Acts (as amended) are set out in the Annual Reports of the Bureau, copies of which are available in the Oireachtas library and on the website of An Garda Síochána and my own Department..

Departmental Bodies Data

 215. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the State bodies or boards that fall under the remit of his Department; and the number of members of each State body or board who are not qualified within the field in which the board or body has oversight. [43419/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will be aware, my Department has responsibility for a large number of bodies, both statutory and non-statutory. These bodies range in scale from large scale national services such as An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service, the Irish Prison Service and the Property Registration Authority; sectoral regulators such as the Private Security Authority, the Property Services Regulatory Authority and the Legal Services Regulatory Authority; oversight bodies such as the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, Garda Síochána Inspectorate, Policing Authority and Inspector of Prisons; to statutory Boards exercising appellate type functions and which have no full time dedicated staff (e.g. Censorship of Publications Boards, Private Security Appeal Board, the Legal Terms Advisory Committee). 

  The governance structure of these bodies varies and not all have boards.  Board positions are now generally advertised through the state boards process, which clearly specifies the statutory criteria, which may include a requirement for professional qualifications or specify particular experience.  While these criteria may be directly relevant to the nature of body's work, they may also refer to financial, governance or stakeholder interests; for example, the Courts Service Board includes a person representative of court users.

  Further information on these bodies and the nature of the relationship between them and my Department can be found in the Department's Corporate Governance Framework on our website (www.justice.ie); details of the members of State Boards can be found on the State Boards website (www.stateboards.ie).

Residency Permits

 216. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43434/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), written representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned.

These representations, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation, in advance of a final decision being made.  

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda Stations

 217. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his plans to reopen Garda stations which were closed in County Clare in view of the fact that his Department found the resources to reopen the Garda station in Stepaside; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43463/17]

 219. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his plans to reopen Garda stations that were closed in County Limerick as his Department has found the resources to reopen the Garda station in Stepaside; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43469/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 and 219 together.

The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána and, as Minister, I have no responsibility for these matters. 

As the Deputy will be aware, during 2011 and 2012, An Garda Síochána completed a comprehensive review of its District and station network with the objective of identifying opportunities to introduce strategic reforms to enhance service delivery, increase efficiency and streamline practices within the organisation. The review concluded that a revised District and station network commensurate with the organisation’s resource base would best meet public demand.  In the case of certain stations, many of which were only open part-time and manned by a single Garda, the review determined that resources could be better deployed and more effectively used on the front line if those stations no longer had to be staffed and maintained.  

As a result, the Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme was implemented, which resulted in the closure of some 139 Garda stations, including 9 in Clare and 8 in Limerick, and the amalgamation of 28 Garda Districts into 14 enlarged Districts. In reaching these conclusions, I understand that Garda management reviewed all aspects of the Garda Síochána policing model, including the deployment of personnel, the utilisation of modern technologies and the overall operation of Garda stations. 

As a result of the Programme, communities have benefited from increased Garda visibility and increased patrolling hours which has enabled An Garda Síochána to deliver an improved policing service to the public.

The Programme for a Partnership Government commits to a pilot scheme to reopen 6 Garda stations, both urban and rural, to determine possible positive impacts that such openings will have on criminal activity, with special emphasis on burglaries, theft and public order.

I recently published the second interim report of the Garda Commissioner, which recommended that the former Stepaside station in Co. Dublin be reopened on a pilot basis and indicated that, subject to further analysis, the Commissioner is likely to recommend in the final report the inclusion of the former stations at Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow and Donard, Co. Wicklow in the pilot scheme. If a second station is to be reopened in Dublin, the Report indicates that the Commissioner is likely, subject to further analysis, to recommend that the former station at Rush, Co. Dublin be included in the pilot scheme.

I understand that work is ongoing in An Garda Síochána to finalise the report and that it is expected to be received shortly, at which point it will be brought to Government.

The Deputy will be aware that the Government's focus is on increasing Garda numbers and ensuring that Gardaí are appropriately resourced to protect and serve the community.  In this context, among the range of justice measures announced in the Budget, the Government committed to recruiting 800 additional Gardaí and a further 500 civilians in 2018 together with continued investment of some €6 million in new Garda vehicles in 2018 to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern and fit for purpose fleet.

I am informed that in comparison to similar jurisdictions, Ireland is served very well by its ratio of police stations to population:

- Ireland has 564 Garda stations (for approximately 4.7 million people);

- Northern Ireland (2012) had 86 police stations for a population of 1.5 million people;

- Scotland has 340 stations for 5.2 million people.

Garda Recruitment

 218. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of trainees for An Garda Síochána who are in the Garda College, Templemore; and the number of those anticipated to be allocated to the Limerick division. [43468/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime.  To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians.

Taking account of projected retirements, reaching a strength of 15,000 by 2021 will require some 2,400 new Garda members to be recruited on a phased basis over the next three years in addition to the 2,000 that will have been recruited by the end of this year since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014.  I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that there are currently 431 trainee Gardaí undertaking training in the Garda College.

The workforce plan is progressing apace. I am informed by the Commissioner, since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014 that close to 1,400 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, of whom 39 were allocated to the Limerick Division. I am also informed that another 200 trainee Garda are scheduled to attest later this year which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increase to around the 13,500 mark by year end - an increase of 500 since the end of 2016. In addition to this, a further 800 Garda trainees are expected to attest in 2018. 

I am pleased to say that Budget 2018 will support the continuation of this high level of investment in the Garda workforce and ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track.

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána.  We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division, including the Limerick Division in the coming years.

In so far as the allocation of newly attested Gardaí is concerned, this is a matter for the Garda Commissioner.  I am assured by the Commissioner that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of resources. However, it is important to keep in mind that newly attested Gardaí have a further 16 months of practical and class-room based training to complete in order to receive their BA in Applied Policing.  To ensure that they are properly supported and supervised and have opportunities to gain the breadth of policing experience required, the Commissioner's policy is to allocate them to specially designated training stations which have the required training and development structures and resources in place, including trained Garda tutors and access to a permanently appointed supervisory Sergeant who is thoroughly familiar with their responsibilities under the training programme.

Question No. 219 answered with Question No. 217.

Garda Welfare

 220. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the mental health supports in place for serving gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43474/17]

 221. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if his attention has been drawn to the cases of five serving gardaí who committed suicide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43475/17]

 222. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if more supports will be rolled out to serving gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43476/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I propose to take Questions Nos. 220 to 222, inclusive, together.

It is the role of the Coroner Service to investigate unnatural or sudden deaths including deaths that may have resulted from suicide, in order to establish the ‘who, when, where and how’ of an unexplained death.  Accordingly, it would not be appropriate for me to be specific about the number of members of An Garda Síochána who lost their lives through suicide as some cases of unnatural or sudden deaths of members of An Garda Síochána may still be before the Coroner Service.

That said, clearly the family, friends and colleagues of any Garda members who have lost their lives through suicide are deserving of our deepest sympathies.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that following any such tragic loss An Garda Síochána puts in place a comprehensive welfare response to assist and support members who may be affected. The welfare response is delivered by the Garda Employee Assistance Service, Occupational Health Department, Human Resource Management and Local Management. It includes various interventions including Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, Peer Support, Bereavement and Self Care Education.

I am advised by the Commissioner that the Garda Employee Assistance Service is available to members of An Garda Síochána and supports them in managing and resolving personal and work-related difficulties. In addition, there is an independent confidential help line and counselling service available to all staff within An Garda Síochána.  This service provides all employees with immediate support from accredited counsellors, over the telephone and then, if needed, up to eight face-to-face counselling sessions. These sessions take place in a location within one hour of the employee’s home or place of work. Counselling is provided on a wide range of work and personal issues including critical incidents, trauma, financial issues, relationships, bereavement, stress, conflict, and health. The service is available on a twenty-four hour basis, every day.

I also understand that there is a Peer Supporter Programme operating in each Garda District and that following a traumatic incident a peer supporter who has received appropriate training in helping colleagues cope with the effect of a traumatic incident in the workplace will contact the member(s) who were involved in the incident and  offer support. 

The Deputy will be aware that Connecting for Life is Ireland’s national strategy to reduce suicide 2015-2020.  Connecting for Life sets out a vision of an Ireland where fewer lives are lost through suicide, and where communities and individuals are empowered to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

A Cross-Sectoral Group comprising high-level representatives from Government Departments and key State agencies including An Garda Síochána has been established to support the implementation of Connecting for Life..

Residency Permits

 223. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan when a person (details supplied) will be informed on the outcome of their appeal which has been delayed for many months. [43501/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person mentioned by the Deputy was refused permission to remain in the State on the basis of their marriage to an Irish National.

I understand that the person concerned has appealed the decision and that the appeal is currently being considered.  A decision in relation to the appeal will issue shortly.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose.  This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of Parliamentary Question process.  The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda Resources

 224. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of bomb detection dogs currently active and at the disposal of An Garda Síochána in Dublin Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43522/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The Deputy will appreciate that the provision and allocation of resources for An Garda Síochána is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. 

The policing and security of Dublin Airport is the responsibility of An Garda Síochána along with other law enforcement agency stakeholders each of whom has a specific role to play in ensuring airport security.

I understand from the Garda authorities that a comprehensive Policing Plan is in place for Dublin Airport and has been developed with all security agencies operating at the Airport to deliver a co-ordinated response to security.

I further understand that there are currently 23 dogs attached to the Garda Dog Unit, comprising general purpose (search), drugs and explosive detection dogs.  For security and operational reasons, An Garda Síochána has advised that information in relation to the number of specific detection dogs and their locations is not made public.

Protected Disclosures

 225. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if his attention has been drawn to the fact that, seven months on from an examination of a protected disclosure by a person (details supplied), nothing has been done to address the issues raised in the disclosure; the reason the person is not being properly paid; the reason they have been removed from the payroll again in error; if the second disclosure submitted by the person will be examined; if he will address their inappropriate treatment by management; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43592/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The case to which the Deputy refers was dealt with in accordance with the protected disclosures policy in place, including an external review, on foot of which various actions were taken.  The case is currently the subject of proceedings which were instituted by the individual in question before the Workplace Relations Commission, as is their right, and it would not therefore be appropriate to comment further on the protected disclosure at this time.

I am informed by the Irish Prison Service that the individual in question is being paid in line with the applicable civil service regulations.

Additional matters raised in recent correspondence from the individual in question are currently being reviewed by the Irish Prison Service Protected Disclosures recipient.

Prison Service Staff

 226. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the action taken by his Department to ensure that prison officers who are threatened by prisoners while on duty are given appropriate supports and security; the number of proven cases of threats to officers that were witnessed; the action taken in each case; if officers are paid in full should they take leave arising from such incidents; if such payments are made for long periods, if there is a maximum period; if officers injured at work arising from assaults by prisoners are paid in full for the duration of their recovery; the number of officers who are out of work due to prisoner assaults; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43593/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service that upon receipt of notification that a member of staff has been threatened whether on duty or off duty, Operations Directorate immediately action the Irish Prison Service Staff Security Protocol.  Both local Gardaí and Garda HQ are advised of the details of the threat.  An investigation and threat assessment are conducted by Gardaí, and where appropriate, the Irish Prison Service will support the installation of security measures at the officer’s home.  Since 1 January 2016, of the threats reported to Operations Directorate, five have been verified by an Garda Síochána and the appropriate measures taken.

In the event an employee avails of certified sick leave and the absence is deemed to be occupational injury or disease related (under the terms of Department of Finance circulars 1/82 and 6/97), the employee is entitled to 183 days full pay in a rolling 1 year period after which they will be placed on half pay and to 365 days in a rolling 4 year period after which they will be removed from the payroll.  Once an employee is removed from the payroll after reaching the maximum paid sick leave allowed, they may be entitled to Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration. 

However, in the event that the employee’s absence on certified sick leave is not deemed as injury on duty related, paid sick leave entitlements for ordinary illness apply (DPER Circular 12/2015).  The employee is entitled to 92 days full pay in a rolling 1 year period after which they will be placed on half pay and to 183 days in a rolling 4 year period after which they will be removed from the payroll.  Again, they may be entitled to Temporary Rehabilitation Remuneration following removal from the payroll.  

In 2015, the Director General of Irish Prison Service obtained sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for a Serious Physical Assault Scheme for Prison Officers which allows that, in cases where an officer has suffered a serious physical assault, full pay may be sanctioned up to a maximum of twelve months.

I am further advised by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service that there are currently 19 employees absent on sick leave as a result of an occupational injury, 6 of which are as a result of an alleged assault by a prisoner.

The first strategic action of the Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan 2016 - 2018 is Staff Support.  The Irish Prison Service has a number of support services which employees have access to; namely Staff Support Officers at local prison level, the National Officers of the Employee Assistance Programme and Inspire Workplaces, which has been contracted by the Irish Prison Service to provide a free counselling service for all IPS staff.  This service is completely confidential and is designed to assist employees in resolving personal or work-related concerns.  It is a 24/7 Freephone helpline, with access to up to 6 follow-up counselling sessions for support covering a wide range of issues.

Furthermore, the Irish Prison Service is introducing the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) model of support for staff.  CISM addresses stress management for prison personnel who may encounter stressful situations not normally experienced by the general public.  CISM provides guidance to staff on how to manage and control stress and reduce or eliminate uncontrolled stress.  CISM comprises of a continuum of care and targets the response of individuals and groups of individuals to traumatic events rather than the incident itself.  It aims to minimise the emotional impact of critical incidents on IPS staff, increases the resistance and resilience of IPS staff to harmful stress and prevent the harmful effects on staff of these incidents by working with and supporting IPS staff at the time of Critical Incidents.

Drugs in Prisons

 227. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of drugs security officer roles filled in prisons; the prisons in which they are working; and the prisons which do not have drugs security officers. [43650/17]

 228. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the position regarding the implementation of the keeping drugs out of prison policy published in 2006, which mandates that all prisons maintain accurate statistics on drug seizures by location of seizure, method of introduction to the prison, type of drug, amount and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43651/17]

 229. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the difficulties posed by a failure to keep records of the types and quantities of drugs seized in prisons for the development of prison drug treatment services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43652/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I propose to take Questions Nos. 227 to 229, inclusive, together.

I am advised by my officials that the Irish Prison Service policy ‘Keeping Drugs out of Prison’ was introduced in 2006 to address many aspects of drug use in prison, including measures to reduce the use of illegal drugs in the prison setting.

In 2008, the Operational Support Group (OSG) was established which received resources and investment in order to implement the key objectives of Keeping Drugs out of Prison. A key role of the OSG is to support governors in implementing Government policy, including the prevention of the smuggling of contraband (including drugs) into prisons, the detection and prevention of illegal activity within the prison Estate and intelligence-gathering.

Many of the roles envisaged for Drugs Security Officers as outlined in the Keeping Drugs out of Prisons Policy, were, therefore undertaken by the creation of the OSG and OSG Assistant Chief Officer grades (of whom there are 2 in each closed prison) effectively perform the role envisaged for drugs security officers.

In relation to the maintenance of accurate statistics on drug seizures, I am advised that the OSG maintain records in relation to drug seizures and that these statistics are regularly reported to IPS HQ. However there are limitations on the details recorded, in view of the fact that the IPS does not have the laboratory facilities required to establish the exact chemical composition of all drugs..

Departmental Funding

 230. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the amount of funding per annum that charities and Government agencies (details supplied) received for 2016 or the nearest available year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43658/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton The National Women's Council of Ireland received €400,000 from the Department of Justice and Equality.

  The Rape Crisis Network Ireland received €85,000 from the Department of Justice and Equality.

  The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is accountable directly to the Oireachtas and is funded through Vote 25. The final appropriation accounts for 2016 are currently awaited, but the estimate provision was €6.306m and the outturn was €6.208m.


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